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  • Writer's pictureRachel Monteith

Can I cure your dog?

Well there's an easy answer or you can have an honest answer. Which do you prefer? Honesty every day as far as I'm concerned. So, let me set this one straight right from the outset: not without you, no.

For starters, "cure" is a weird word. This isn't a dog with a case of chicken pox. So let's correct that - because there's nothing wrong with your dog.

I do often hear the rising chants from clients like; "he's not normal", "she's loop the loop", "we can't have him if he's going to be like this", "he's just doing it, there's no pattern", "he's just odd".

Let me tell you....

there is a pattern, he is normal, she's not loop the loop and he is definitely not odd.

The issue you will 99% of the time be experiencing is not that your dog is odd, It's simply that their "dog mind" has flared up and is clashing with the domestic life they find themselves in.

Dog minds are marvellously basic in a way. They work by linking actions with consequences, and where the consequences particularly resonate with them, they can form solid ideas that cause serious issues in terms of family life. Think, stealing things, growling at people, eating what they shouldn't, guarding what they shouldn't, running away, overreacting etc etc. Even worse, we can cause further stress by responding like humans - offering comfort and feeling worry for them or getting to the "right! that's enough!" stage. Little do we know we're often compounding the issue.

A recent article in the Whole Dog Journal (Callahan CPDT-KA FDM 2024) explains this perfectly. She says:

People are often surprised when the training focuses on them, rather than the dog. But when owners learn, dogs do too. Contrast this with sessions where the trainer simply shows off the amazing behaviour they can get from the dog....Terrific job security for them. If you're a little annoyed that they are focusing on you for an hour, remember, that kind of session empowers an owner forever.

So, it's my job to show you not only how to do it, but how to better understand your dogs for the rest of their lives with you. This prevents these issues bubbling up in the first place or rearing their ugliness into your lives again. The call to action for these dogs, has to come from you in order to fix it long term.

Look at the facts. You already have a bond of trust with your dog like the dog mum in this picture. I am a stranger to them. To help temporarily, I'll come, fix your dog and go, but then 6 months later, another behavioural issue will ignite, which you won't understand, so, you'll call someone, and do it all again.

We need to empower you! You're IT! You make the difference. I just diagnose, show you how and explain why.

Let's take another example - a gorgeous dog I met, and many of the dogs I meet, are behaving aggressively under certain circumstances. Now this particularly gorgeous dog - a fox red cockapoo, could not abide being touched around the face. Ever. under any circumstances. It had worsened to the point that the owners were scared to sit next to him on the sofa and were in tears during my visit

So, did I, a complete stranger to this dog, take him away for some 'training' and deliver him back to his owners fixed? No, and if you think that's an approach you need, please don't call me, I can't help. Instead, we worked together. I watched his behaviour, tested out his responses, talked through scenarios, and politely grilled both owners (they forgave me I promise).

Clarity came. within an hour. This dog, who had a predispoition to struggle with touch was reaching his limit, stressed, and felt he had no choice but to manage the threat of touch himself. Without knowing it, his stress boundaries had been inadvertantly disrespected. When initial tactics don't work, dogs step it up, and this lovely boy had, with aplomb.

Could I get near him? Nope. Did I need to? Nope. Could the owners? Just about. Well we start there then. Having drawn up our plan of actions, they cracked on. Things got better, then the plan slipped and things got worse. So, after dusting ourselves down, they went onwards and upwards. And within a few weeks, this boy is reaching out for face cuddles on a regular basis. Nothing pleases me more than videos of success.

I can 'cure' dogs, but not if you're not on board. I'll nurse you through it, you'll have me right there, guiding every step of the way. But YOU my friends, it's YOU that cures your dog. And trust me, there's no better feeling!

...See you next time.


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